It is opening night and the cast, band and crew of Suds are anxiously waiting for the curtain to open so they can show Port Alberni the musical-comedy they have been working so diligently on for the last two months.
Sound, lights, props and music checks are done, but there is an empty chair in the orchestra pit. “Where is Scott Jarvis?” someone asks.
“This is not like him; he has made every rehearsal. We’re worried.”
“Five minutes to curtain” is called and everyone knows the show must go on. Sandy Bouleau directs her band in the opening numbers just as they had rehearsed so many times before, but now Bouleau, along with playing her portion of the music, is also playing Jarvis’s bass lines on the keyboard.
The curtain goes up and the audience immediately becomes entranced by the characters as they enter the Suds Wash-O-Rama. Loud applause and laughter is heard throughout the first act, especially as the angels are performing Locomotion while Cindy is agitating in the washer, and as Cindy and her angels, Marge and Dee Dee, perform These Boot Are Made For Walking to the poor unsuspecting Repairman.
The audience roars as Mrs. Halo comes into the laundromat for a ‘fluff and fold’ and later as Cindy’s mystery date, Milt Dudman, comes to take her to the science fair.
The curtain closes on the first act and there is still an empty chair in the orchestra pit. “Where can Scott be?” his cast members ask, as concern continues to mount.
The audience loves the second act as much as the first and during the finale number Shout, Lisa Fryer, Yvette Marie Deveau, Janet Deakin, Brent Ronning and Chris Arthurs are rewarded with a long standing ovation. The cast bows and Arthurs, in a British accent, introduces the audience to the band, Sandy and the Spin Cycles.
Still standing and applauding, does the audience notice there is an empty chair in the orchestra pit?
The cast, director Blaine Ronning and crew, along with the band are jubilant about the performances in the opening show.
There were some opening night hiccups, but all in all everything went well, and we should be celebrating…but where is Jarvis?
After the audience leaves the theatre section and the doors close; the Suds cast and crew are gathered together to learn the latest on Jarvis’s disappearance. He had left for work at 8:30 that morning to deliver goods in Tofino and hadn’t been heard from since.
Finally, an hour after the play ends, good news comes to the theatre. Safe and sound, Jarvis is found snow bound in his loaded tractor trailer near Sutton Pass. His fellow crewmates were relieved to hear the good news.